Move over, Speaker Pelosi

A real queen is in town:

WASHINGTON (AP) – With trumpet fanfare and a 21-gun salute, President Bush welcomed Queen Elizabeth II to the White House on Monday as thousands of invited guests crowded the South Lawn for a glimpse of the British monarch.

Bush and his wife, Laura, were waiting on the driveway on a near-perfect spring day as the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, arrived by limousine. The two couples briefly shook hands before moving on to the formal welcome.

A brilliantly blue sky framed the colorful ceremony where red, white and blue bunting was draped over the fencelines on the South Lawn. The United States Air Force Band led a grand military procession onto the lawn.

The ceremony included a parade by the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps dressed in black tricorn hats, white wigs, waistcoats, colonial coveralls, and red regimental coats. Their uniforms are patterned after those worn by the musicians of Gen. George Washington’s Continental Army.

It was a day of high pomp and pageantry from a president known for his informality. It also was an uplifting event for a White House at a time when Bush’s approval rate has dropped near all-time lows and he battles a Democratic Congress over funding for an unpopular Iraq war.

In honor of the queen, Bush agreed to host the first white-tie dinner of his presidency, with entertainment by violin virtuoso Itzhak Perlman.

“We did sort of have to convince him a little bit” to opt for the white-tie dinner, Mrs. Bush said of her and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s efforts to talk Bush into hosting the most formal dinner the White House can offer.

REAL queen:

Photo courtesy: AP/Charles Dharapak

FAUX queen:

Any questions?

Update: Robert Bluey was at the WH for the arrival of Queen Elizabeth and has a slideshow of photos.

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